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  #21  
Old 01-28-2019, 09:04 AM
Jersey City Giants Jersey City Giants is offline
Jason Seidl
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Here is a question I have been pondering even before this photo. If something is printed later but is not dated and the era of the paper is the same how do they tell? Take this photo. it is labeled 1914 but that is incorrect as the uniform is from 1913 (the only year they used Cubs on the road when he played with them) and its the Image from his 1914 Fatima. However, how would anyone know when the print was exactly made? Was it 1914, 1915, 1920, 1930??? And if the production is in doubt (assuming paper checks out for period) how could anyone render an opinion at PSA or anywhere for that matter in terms of its Type? It could be a Type I or Type II but definitively putting one of those labels on it seems just a guess to me. Again, I am just talking about the Type designation not anything else.
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  #22  
Old 01-28-2019, 09:51 AM
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horzverti horzverti is offline
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Originally Posted by Jersey City Giants View Post
The "Cubs 1914" is a little darker Pencil and the Cubs does not match the way Conlon wrote it out (especially the S) while the name matches Conlon's handwriting. Hence, I am thinking someone added that at a later date than the photo.
The name and Cubs 1914 is in Charlie's hand. Often if you see a date written by Conlon it means that the print was produced well after the image was captured. Conlon would probably receive a request for a print of one of his older images and he would just produce a new print off of his original neg. I would think that he may have been inconsistent with writing dates on prints made off of an older neg = it can be tough to determine if a print was created near the date of image capture or well after. To make a best guess you must consider multiple factors: paper stock, stamp, written detail on back, photo margins, etc. This is assuming the print was produced from the original Conlon created neg.
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  #23  
Old 01-28-2019, 10:12 AM
Jersey City Giants Jersey City Giants is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horzverti View Post
The name and Cubs 1914 is in Charlie's hand. Often if you see a date written by Conlon it means that the print was produced well after the image was captured. Conlon would probably receive a request for a print of one of his older images and he would just produce a new print off of his original neg. I would think that he may have been inconsistent with writing dates on prints made off of an older neg = it can be tough to determine if a print was created near the date of image capture or well after. To make a best guess you must consider multiple factors: paper stock, stamp, written detail on back, photo margins, etc. This is assuming the print was produced from the original Conlon created neg.
But it all seems to boil down to a best guess after considering the paper type. In terms of collecting that is a lot of money riding on someone's "guess" IMHO. I know grading is subjective but I feel most of us are skillful enough to grade many of the cards on our own. Photo's without exact dates just seem like a crap shoot if you are gunning for Type I status regardless what PSA says.

In terms of cropping that would be meaningless to me as I developed my own negatives (I shot for my college newspaper and then as a freelancer after college) and sometimes played around with cropping the same photo different ways. This was all done in the same time frame (same day). Now I never dated any of the photos ( I did use a stamp but it was just to make sure anyone using the photo would have to credit me).
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  #24  
Old 01-28-2019, 10:54 AM
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I would like to consider some of the comments that have been made in this thread, and then consider your photograph in the light of those comments.

lumberjack: “wouldn’t it be to the benefit of everyone if the auction houses, big and small, told us everything they could muster about a photograph.”

drcy: “That’s the way I’ve always done it—in plain words.”

drcy: “know that a photograph is nuanced, and can’t simply be defined by a type system.”

Of course you’re correct that there is some guesswork in photographs, but that guesswork exists whether one uses the PSA or photography market definitions. The question is: how should we think about your photograph?

I would begin with lumberjack’s advice: tell everything you can muster. So this is a Charles Conlon photograph, taken in 1913, printed later, or 1913, printed 1920s-1930s. I prefer “printed later” in this case because it might have been printed earlier, and we really have no idea. This is still a collectible print—it was printed during Conlon’s lifetime and probably by Conlon himself—but not as collectible as one stamped “July 7, 1913.” Both the photography market and PSA, confronting a date stamp like that, would have an easy time of it designating the print as “vintage” or “Type 1.”

The difference between a 1913 and a 1923 print is real, but not all-or-none, in my opinion. PSA may not have intended it, but the Type 2 designation essentially renders the photograph worthless. If you doubt that, try consigning it to a major auction house. I think the system fails to capture a lot of value.
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  #25  
Old 01-28-2019, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey City Giants View Post
But it all seems to boil down to a best guess after considering the paper type. In terms of collecting that is a lot of money riding on someone's "guess" IMHO. I know grading is subjective but I feel most of us are skillful enough to grade many of the cards on our own. Photo's without exact dates just seem like a crap shoot if you are gunning for Type I status regardless what PSA says.

In terms of cropping that would be meaningless to me as I developed my own negatives (I shot for my college newspaper and then as a freelancer after college) and sometimes played around with cropping the same photo different ways. This was all done in the same time frame (same day). Now I never dated any of the photos ( I did use a stamp but it was just to make sure anyone using the photo would have to credit me).
Yes, grading/authentication in general is very subjective for sure. If you look at the grading of cards, usually advanced collectors know more about the cards being graded than the graders do. Yet so much emphasis is put on the standard of the PSA grade. The subjectivity of authenticating photos by a third party service is greater than that of cards. With photos, I feel that there is an even more pronounced difference between the knowledge of advanced collectors and the grading service. The collectors have more knowledge. I feel that PSA does a decent job with photos in general; but I prefer Rhys' process. PSA's (Henry's) type system was a great start, but it can be improved. PSA should start at the top - improve authentication of Conlon photos. You are correct Jersey City, there is a lot of $ riding on someone's subjective "guess."
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  #26  
Old 01-28-2019, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey City Giants View Post
Here is a question I have been pondering even before this photo. If something is printed later but is not dated and the era of the paper is the same how do they tell? Take this photo. it is labeled 1914 but that is incorrect as the uniform is from 1913 (the only year they used Cubs on the road when he played with them) and its the Image from his 1914 Fatima. However, how would anyone know when the print was exactly made? Was it 1914, 1915, 1920, 1930??? And if the production is in doubt (assuming paper checks out for period) how could anyone render an opinion at PSA or anywhere for that matter in terms of its Type? It could be a Type I or Type II but definitively putting one of those labels on it seems just a guess to me. Again, I am just talking about the Type designation not anything else.
That's a complicated question and you look at photo by photo and instance by instance. You can be sure a photo is period by looking at a number of qualities and things, and also the circumstances.

With news photos, they were news so, if the photo is identified as old, you can very fairly assume it was made very soon after the news event. Beyond the later re-issues (which are identified by the paper, blacklight, etc), 99+ percent of newsphotos were made within days after the image was shot, as they were meant to document the current news for the newspapers. That's the nature of news photos. Happily, news photos often have date stamps, tags and captions that also help date the photo precisely. Most wirephotos have the date it was made in the caption.

But there will be photos that you know are original (clarity of image showing it was made from the original negative, paper, process, signs of aging and often even the photographer's or studio's stamp), but you don't know the exact year it was made. This is why many photos are sold as "circa 1920 studio photo" or "1930s George Burke photo."

With 1800s photos you can be certain it was made in the 1800s, in major part because they used a long since defunct process (albumen), but you regularly don't know the particular year it was made. The cardboard mounts help you identify the timeframe as styles changed. Though you may not know the exact year, you can identify a cabinet card or CDV as being from the 1860s or 1880s or 1890s by the mount-- and of course the image itself gives help.

So there will be photos where you don't know the exact year it was made, and you don't say you know.

The perfect example for you is George Burke's photos. He reused his negatives of Ruth, Dimaggio, etc over the years. Due to the distinct paper, stamps and changing addresses he used, you can identify his vintage photos from the 1930s, but not know what exact year within the 1930s it was made. Could be 1933, could be 1935 or 1937. This, of course, says that these photos can't be defined by the PSA Type system because you don't have enough information to know where a particular photo fits within the their '2 year' rule. As for me, I call them "vintage 1930s George Burke" photos-- notice the lack of the word original. If someone else wants to label them original, that's a matter of opinion and definition. The 2 year rule was PSA's pick for their system. Someone else may say it should be 1 year, 3 year, 5 year or period. The first time I heard the 2 year rule was when PSA used it. The 2 years is arbitrary, but I also understand PSA wanting a specified rule/standard for their cataloging system. Any labeling or cataloging system is going to be imperfect, with artibrary and artificial choices-- though that says there are limitations of all labeling and cataloging systems.

"All models are wrong, but some are useful"-- famed British statistician George E.P. Box

There are lots of paintings in museums-- by Michelangelo, Da Vince, Vermeer--, where they know they are originals, but don't know the exact year it was made. This is complicated because some paintings too more than a year to make. Look at the labels at museums and you'll see all sorts of guestimates as the timeframe when something was made.

There are also baseball card issues that we know are real, but there are ongoing debates when they were exactly issued.

Last edited by drcy; 01-29-2019 at 01:37 PM.
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  #27  
Old 01-28-2019, 01:13 PM
Jersey City Giants Jersey City Giants is offline
Jason Seidl
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Guys I really appreciate the great back and forth. My next question is if PSA does not know what year something was produced do they just return the photo or just slap on a Type 2 rating? I have never submitted a photo (I own one but bought it graded) but am curious.
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  #28  
Old 01-28-2019, 03:00 PM
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I believe they will a photo return ungraded if they can't formed an opinion, such as with some blank back photos.
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  #29  
Old 01-29-2019, 12:45 AM
joshleland joshleland is offline
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PSA "authentication" of photography is a beginning, not an end. It should not be a wall, but a step to take us to the next level. The "Type" system as simplistic and damning as it is has caused some great benefit. It has opened the gates for new collectors (and old) to enter with a certain level of comfort and the result has been increased interest, increased prices at the high end, a flood gate of new material coming in for us to ooh, ahh and bitch about and an increased sophistication to build on. And this convo is perfect for that build.

Its just like cards. The new era goes beyond the slabs. "Interpretation of the slab" which is in its infancy. "Buy the card not the slab" is a credo of increasing velocity. How ironic it would be where the hobby is in reverse and the slab is relevant? Essentially, we go to slabbed raw.

I know it hurts. When you have an image you know is great, really great, and it is weighed down by this (figurative) slab, and when you know more than the slabs or its slabber (?). But in the short term, you live by the slab, and you die by the slab. In some you have benefited (hopefully) and some you have lost (unfortunately and in your mind unfairly).

But have faith. Ultimately, the truth rises to the top. Hopefully in our lifetimes.
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  #30  
Old 01-29-2019, 09:25 AM
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I collect and deal in boxer self-issued promo photos. One of the biggest frustrations for me with the PSA system is that these are usually treated as Type III under the PSA roof even though they are more desirable than a basic (Type I) photo of the boxer from some news service. This is the sort of photo i am talking about:



The other underserved type of photo are the head to head or composites made to promote specific fights:

Dempsey-Tunney II:



An example of the "tale of the tape" style that is still used today:



This came out of the press kit for the Thrilla in Manila:



None of them are 'type I' because all of them are composites, yet they are the best available items for these fights.

While I appreciate that the people who blindly follow PSA will undervalue photos like this, it is annoying as hell for the reasons everyone else mentions.
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Last edited by Exhibitman; 01-29-2019 at 09:35 AM.
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